Two outfielders, heading different ways

Musings on the Nady/Marte trade
Pat Venditte promoted to Tampa

It’s still early enough in Brett Gardner‘s season for last night’s game to make a big difference in his numbers. By going 5 for 6 with a home run and a triple, he raised his average .022 points to .303, his on-base percentage .016 to .374 and his slugging by a whopping .051 to .441.

For Gardner, last night’s game was the crowning moment in his 2009 renaissance. Handed the starting job out of Spring Training, Gardner faltered. Through April 26, he was hitting just .220/.254/.271, and with Melky’s bat showing signs of life, Gardner was out of a regular job. That would be the low point of the season for Brett. While his average eventually dipped to .214, his OPS and stock has been on the rise since then.

Since his benching, Gardner has played his way back into consideration. From May 1 through last night, he has 111 plate appearance, and he is hitting .355/.444/.548 in that span with 22 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. In a season with 650 plate appearances, that would put him on pace to score over 120 runs and steal 70.

While the power is a welcome bonus, that .444 OBP since the start of May is the key for Brett. He’s a fast guy who can, as the age-old baseball cliché says, make things happen on the base paths. He steals; he moves the defense; he scores runs. He can handle the bat well and has a discerning eye. Right now, he’s crediting a more aggressive approach with his recent success. Whatever it is he’s doing sure is working.

On the other side of the center field battle is Melky Cabrera. After a very poor 2008, Cabrera has rebounded with a solid 2009. He’s hitting .287/.351/.446 with 7 home runs and a few key walk-off hits. After losing the job in Spring Training, Melky played his way into the starting role by hitting .342/.422/.534 through May 8. Since then, though, as Gardner has improved, Melky has not. Over 145 plate appearances since May 9, Melky is hitting .256/.310/.395. While not nearly as bad as he was last year, Melky has hit another post-April cold streak.

Right now, the Yankees are in an envious position. They have two viable candidates for center field who can both field their position well. The solution is to go with the hot hand. For now, Brett Gardner should be playing until he’s no longer performing at above-average production. After the game, Joe Girardi acknowledged that Gardner had earned regular playing time. It’s hard to argue with that.

Musings on the Nady/Marte trade
Pat Venditte promoted to Tampa
  • Nick

    To be fair to Melky, he was hurt for little bit, and has hit better over the last week (.286/.412/.429).

    That said, Girardi should keep running Gardner out there till he cools off.

    • Bryan

      Melky is a great defensive player but he’s been prone to being very hot and going very cold at the plate. He could be an All Star if he was consisent like the way he hit in April and May but he does need more to hit for more power for that. If he can’t then the Yankees should keep him around for a long time as a solid 4th outfielder. I think Gardener should be in CF more and When Austin Jackson is ready to be called up he should go to LF.

  • Ashish Skaria

    Agreed. Gardner should be playing CF until he cools down. Guys, if the Yankees offense goes through another prolonged slump again, what are the chances of the Yankees calling up Shelley Duncan, John Rodriguez, Jorge Vazquez, or even Jesus Montero for that matter?

    • andrew

      I’d go with unlikely… none of those guys would really upgrade anything we’ve currently got

    • Zach

      Are we really going to bench Damon/Swish/Matsui for Duncan or John Rodriguez? Come on, slumps happen, unfortunately it seemed like the whole lineup did it at once.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I think with Melky one has to consider the shoulder injury and the flu…

    …but both Gardner and Melky are performing better when they don’t expect to be the regular starter.

    Keep the competition going. It’s healthy.

    • Zach

      +1 on the competition. Whoever hits gets to play, once you cool off the other guy gets his shot again

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Play the hot hand until it gets cold. Right now, that’s Gardner. What would be a mistake, though, would be for Gardner to take at bats away from Swisher. That is unwarranted.

  • kinglear

    Actually, even Girardi cautioned that Melky’s numbers have gone down as a result of the shoulder injury, so I wouldn’t buy into the Melky fading as the year goes on sale’s job. Melky is a much better and more patient hitter this year. & Melky had played less recently b/c of the shoulder and the flu, more than as a result of Brett’s superiority. In spite of the setbacks, Melky in his latest AB’s is 4/11 with 2 2B’s and 2BB’s. So, you will probably see them both. Also, if I recall correctly, Melky’s career July numbers are pretty solid. Definitely, BG and Melky add a nice D/small ball dimension to the team, and Girardi smartly plans to utilize them both. Good move, esp. when Swish really isn’t an everyday player. Plus, when ARod, Cano and Tex are contributing their typical numbers we can afford to have two small ball types to augment the lineup and add defense, versatility, and speed.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I like your name kinglear.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        +1

    • Jamal G.

      Nick Swisher is an everyday player. And I really wish people would just take five seconds to take a look at his numbers relative to the league-average corner outfielder as to dispel this misguided notion.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        +33.

        Swisher OPS: .863
        Avg. AL RF OPS: .809

      • Mike HC

        Yea, I’m not even sure how this is a debate. Nobody can predict the future and maybe he will slump, but as of right now, the guy is excellent. He does what he does very well; he walks, strikes out and hits for power. You know what you’re going to get.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    In a season with 650 plate appearances, that would put him on pace to score over 120 runs and steal 70.

    Really, Ben? You’re going to play that card? What are his projections if he never cools off? What if he continues at his last 10 plate appearances pace?

    • Jamal G.

      That line was just of way of dramatically portraying what a great stretch Brett Gardner is having, not to be taken wholly seriously.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        This.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Oh , woops, put that in the wrong spot.

          • Jamal G.

            Heh, made sense anyhow.

    • daneptizl

      Don’t cry.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        What are you 12? Who’s crying?

  • Jamal G.

    Right now, he’s crediting a more aggressive approach with his recent success.

    That, ladies and gents, is reason #2677643882 why baseball players are idiots – Brett Gardner has actually been far less aggressive at the plate this season, compared to last. Gardner has swung at a pitch outside of the strike zone just 17.7% of the time, 23rd fewest amongst all MLB hitters with at least 170 plate appearances (237). Overall, he has swung at a pitch just 34.9% of the time, 6th fewest amongst 237 MLB hitters with at least 170 plate appearances.

    The reason he has been so successful – I think – is because when he actually does swing the bat, he makes contact at an amazing rate. Using the same control group (MLB hitters with at least 170 PA), we see that Gardner ranks 27th in MLB with a contact rate of 89%, well above the league-average percentage of 80.6.

    So, the reason Brett Gardner has been so much better offensively is that the very few times he does swing the bat (34.9% of the time), he makes contact better than roughly 91% of Major League hitters.

    • andrew

      Also, via NoMaas:

      “The biggest reason for his success so far has to be the extreme reduction in his strikeout rate. Gardner is a guy who was no stranger to 22%-24% K rates in the minors, and even posted a 23.6% in 42 games with NYY in 2008. Entering Friday’s game versus the Mets, he was at a startling 14.4%, second on the team only to Derek Jeter. According to Fangraphs, he’s handling fastballs and curveballs much, much better.”

      I’ll buy it. If a guy with that type of speed cuts that many K’s out, all of those strike outs will turn into balls in play that have a 30-35% of being hits. That being said, is his K reduction for real, or just a result of his recent hot streak?

      • Jamal G.

        He does not swing outside of the zone and makes a bunch of contact, I think it’s legit.

        • whozat

          As long as the ability to make contact with those pitches in the zone isn’t a fluke, hells yeah.

          The other challenge will be not starting to get away from his approach when he goes into a slump. Not starting to swing at more pitches outside the zone to try to make stuff happen. But any ballplayer faces that challenge.

    • Dorian

      Aggressive in the strike zone.

    • thebusiness

      His overall swing% is down because he’s swinging at considerably less pitches outside of the zone. But he’s swinging at 4% more of pitches in the zone. Not a huge jump but more aggressive could also mean the type of swing he takes.

    • toad

      It was obvious last year that if he could cut down the K’s he would be fine. I guess he did it.

  • crawdaddie

    With Gardner, the Yankees have another weapon besides their homerun power and they should utilized him as much as possible. It’s actually fun watching him scoot around the bases. If he can continue getting on first base at .350 or more clip than he will be very valuable to the Yankee offense.

  • CB

    Coming into this season there was a significant probability that the Yankees could get replacement level play out of their CF spot. That’s exactly what happened last year and it was crippling to the team’s offense (especially with replacement level production from catcher as well)

    The most important part of this whole Melky vs. Gardner debate isn’t either one of them. The most important issue right now is that the yankees have not only avoided replacement level production from CF, they are getting above average production from CF. That’s an enormous swing from last year to this and has been an important reason why they’ve been ok with Alex and Posada being injured.

    There’s still significant uncertainty with both players and that’s why having both of them for depth is critical. Gardner for instance during this hot streak has hardly faced any left handed pitchers at all. On the whole season he only has 31 PA against lefties. He has dramatic lefty-righty platoon splits. That’s a major issue before Gardner could become an everyday guy. Melky’s weaker side is the right side but he’s absorbing far more of the CF at bats against lefty pitchers allowing Gardner to not have to face them.

    They’re both playing well and complementing each other well. It’s an enormous difference from last year.

    • ArodMVP217 FTW!

      nice lefty-righty sampling error catch!

    • Mike HC

      Gardner is surely playing very well, as is Melky, but I don’t think they are the future in centerfield for the Yanks. The Yanks are so talented that they can get by with them, but an upgrade will be needed in the next couple of years. I like Melk and Gardner as backups who can get hot and replace the starters for a short amount of time, but as everyday players, they are too limited.

    • RAB poster

      It’s amazing that one of the weaknesses of the team has become a major strength.

      • whozat

        Slow down…it’s not a major strength. Thus far, they have gotten a big swing in performance over last year’s CFers. There’s really no guarantee, though, so it’s hard to call it a strength going forward.

        • RAB poster

          When one falters, another steps up. Who knows if it’ll be a strength going forward, but it’s certainly a strength right now.

    • JP

      I agree. One thing I kinda don’t like about the modern stat era is that we are so much better at predicting things about players. For example, the general thinking is that there isn’t much upside for either Gardner or Melky. Both are marginal guys as every day players. Not bad, not “replacement level,” but maybe below average.

      I like thinking there is a chance that one or the other could be an all-star level player. This may be hopeless dreaming, but I really like both of these players. I always thought Melky could handle the bat well, and had hoped he would develop more power. It seems like homers are starting to taper off in MLB and so probably wishing for 20 dingers from Melky is also silly…

      Gardner. When I think of him, the “dream” is that he could learn to be a good MLB hitter, by adjusting his approach. He’s having success now so maybe he doesn’t need another approach, but two guys from the past I think of are Ozzie Smith and Willie Wilson. Ozzie of course was a glove wiz, but if you look at his stats he steadily improved as an offensive player during his career. Willie Wilson, too, learned to slap the ball around and became a pretty good hitter for a few years. If a guy like Gardner could learn to hit .300 and get to 2nd base 60 times a season, that’s pretty good.

      Of course, he IS hitting .300 now, so whatever. Anyway, my point is, I like to think there is the chance both of these guys could develop into low level star players, and not be marginal starters, as the “project” at the moment. At least in the eyes of most people.

  • Jake H

    I think Gardner does deserve more playing time. Melky has done a better job at not swinging at pitches up in the zone but at times he still thinks he can hit a ball around his shoulders. Hopefully they both continue to play well.

  • RAB poster

    Sweep…I want a sweep…

    We’re playing good baseball again.

    I hope Gardner can keep his avg. at or near 300 all season. With at least a 350 OBP.

  • josh

    if only we could combine the two into one player. Garbrera! he would be awesome. he would play every day, be super fast, have a real good arm, bat close to 300, walk a lot, stael 60 bases, hit about 15 hr. he would be awesome.
    all kidding aside, i feel like neither one is a really great everyday player but both have skills that are very valuable. they make for a real nice platoon and would probably be more useful if we had a real good everyday rf or lf. i actually like them both very much but gardner would be great with a little more power and a decent arm and melky would benefit from selectivity/patience (which has improved this year) and some more speed (but he still is a very good baserunner.) having them both is turning out to be a nice problem for girardi to have

  • ArodMVP217 FTW!

    it seems like they are headed in different directions, but overall on the season, they are evenly (+/-) produced.

  • josh

    i dont think one or the other will stay really hot for a whole year (almost nobody does). hopefully when one cools off the other gets hot

  • Jamal G.

    Great question posted by RLYW commenter, WombatPete: http://tinyurl.com/kn4rln

    The question, then, is – is [contact rate] the kind of stat with respect to which a player has a decent chance of remaining a relative outlier, or is this the kind of stat that tends to revert to the league norm? In the sense that I don’t think most people are expecting David Wright’s BABiP to remain over .500…

    I honestly have no clue, and whozat brought up the same point; any ideas?

    • Arman Tamzarian

      Wouldn’t contact rate be a skill and BABIP be a product of skill and luck?

      • Jamal G.

        Yeah, that was my answer at RLYW – that contact, or the ability to put the bat on the ball, is as much a tool as power or speed is for a hitter, thus, it my best guess would be “yes” to the question.

    • Accent Shallow

      I agree with you (that contact rate is a skill, although in such a sample size, we can’t be sure that that’s Gardner’s true talent contact rate)

      On a side note, your link points to “define: scenery” on Google, and not RLYW.

    • Jamal G.

      Here’s the real link to the question, sorry about that: http://tinyurl.com/nh9bga

    • thebusiness

      Contact rate is basically consistent within a general window. Cano actually makes contact better than almost anyone, he just swings at too many bad pitches.

      Cano makes contact with 97% of pitches in the zone this year, which is nuts (2nd in baseball). He makes contact with 80% of pitches OUTSIDE of the zone which is top 10 in baseball. He also swings at 30% of balls, which is his problem.

  • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

    I would like to see Gardner get more playing time simply to find out if he does have a future as the starting CF/lead-off hitter for 2010 and beyond.

    The possible loss of Damon is only hurtful due to the fact that the Yankees, right now, don’t have a player on the team or in the minors that could replace him at the top of the order. And Melky is not that guy for sure. So seeing if Gardy can be that guy, and the Yankees saving time/money on acquiring another option (or re-signing Damon), is important.

  • dre

    Lets be real guys. the yankees are not in an “eviable Position”
    Gardner had a few good games and so did melky, neither should be an everyday Centerfielder. If there is one place Cashman can improve this team its by aquiering an everyday Centerfielder.
    That bieng Said, i think we are lucky that combined they have done a decent job. but lets not kid ourselves they are both 4th outfielders at best.

    • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

      The best guess at this time is that they are 4th OFers in the future. But they are too young to say that for certain. See what you have for sure first, and then go outside of the organization.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    If Gardner continues on a hot streak, and ends the year with a respectable line, say .270-.280/.350-.370/.380-.400, but it seems Jackson is essentially ready to play in the majors, is there any chance Gardner could be dealt for something potentially useful?

    • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

      I would like to see Melky dealt before Gardner. His defense and speed, I believe, make him a better 4th OFer than Cabrera. Not to mention the fact I simply don’t have faith in Melky.

      And in the past I remember reading that although AJax is a fine CFer, he’s not a great one. So it’s possible we see AJax AND Gardy in the LF and CF next season, while Swisher and ??? take RF.

      • whozat

        In the most recent RAB chat, Mike said Jackson is a better CFer than either Melky or Gardner.

        • Drew

          Who knows if AJAX will hit 280-290 though. If this Brett is for real, he’s making a strong case. Also, Ajax is 22. He still has more than enough time to put on weight. He can add some muscle to his frame and gain some power which would make him a great option for the corner outfield spots.

          • whozat

            A) The only point I was making was that Jackson is not a lesser CFer than Melky or Gardner, I made no point about his offensive capabilities.

            B) But, if you’d like to talk about his offensive capabilities…I don’t think that he will ever have the kind of power you’d like to see from a legit corner guy. Also, I’m not sure why we care about AVG. OBP-wise, he does project to have league-average OBP at least, with plus pop for a CFer, plus speed and plus defense. And all that is more important than And Gardner’s not going to OBP where he is right now either. All of a sudden, people are taking his high-water mark as his new true talent level, and that’s silly.

            • Drew

              Right, I don’t expect Grit to hit 303/375, but 285/355 isn’t an otherworldly expectation.
              With Ajax, I don’t expect him to hit with power but if he adds some weight to his frame I’d expect him to have some pop.

            • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

              Oh, I didn’t mean to sound like I didn’t believe you. Just that I check out all the chats and missed that one. Sorry.

        • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

          Really? I missed that. Which is strange since I’m at all the chats. Oh well. If that’s true…great. I must remember wrong.

          • whozat

            I’m pretty sure. It’s pretty easy to miss one comment when the questions are coming by pretty fast.

          • whozat

            From the chat

            2:38 [Comment From Guest]
            do u think ajax profiles more as a LFer in the major leagues? he may play center next year cuz thats where our team need is… but down the line is he good enough defensively to stay there?

            2:38 No, he’s a legit CF. Not a gold glover, but he’s better than Gardbrera.

        • thebusiness

          I saw Jackson play a lot in Trenton, He’s a glider in the outfield. Gardner has more range but Jackson has better instincts out there. Gardner plays balls that can’t be caught better, if that makes sense.

    • Accent Shallow

      I’d be surprised if either Gardner or Melky would bring back a big piece. Maybe a middle reliever.

    • http://anewfrontier.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

      No. I doubt Jackson can beat that in 2010.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        I would plan on having Jackson start next year in AAA, and if he has a strong 1st month, then maybe you call him up and look at trading the excess.

        Jackson has shown large improvement in different aspects of his game each year in the minors. To think that he won’t show improvement from this year to next would be foolish. But also to put all your eggs in his basket would also be foolish.

  • Drew

    I think Melky will rebound nicely. Everyone on the team has gone into a “slump” and he is no different. With that said, Brett is lighting the world on fire and he obviously earned his spot. I see us with a lot of Melky in right once we get back to AL play.

    • thebusiness

      If by “a lot” you mean once a week to give Swisher ample rest. Maybe a few times a month for Damon too. Swisher > Melky/Damon.

      • Drew

        Swisher>Damon? I don’t understand.

        • whozat

          Yeah…Swisher’s got a better OPS, and Damon’s range has really taken a hit this year, it seems.

          • Drew

            No he doesn’t. 895 vs 863.

            • Drew

              Also, Damon on basepaths>>> Swish on basepaths. They both have girl arms, but Swish’s is better. Range, I’d rather JD but they play different positions so it doesn’t matter.

  • Jon

    U guys pick any chance u get to trash melk

  • robert skollar

    Gardner-Melky-Swish
    HOT HAND
    With occasional rest for Johnny Drama…

    What problem???

    • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

      I don’t think it’s so much people’s desire to trash Melky, it’s that they have little to no faith in him. I’m the same way, and it doesn’t sound like Mike, Ben, or Joe have a whole lot of faith in Melky either.

      • Drew

        Word, April he hit 327, may he hit 321. He’s had a bad June. A bad month is apparently the cool thing to do on the Yankees, but with Melky, many just feel its Melky being Melky.

        • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

          LOL. I meant that as a response to Jon above. Oh well, it works still.

          I’m not sure about Melky. Do I think he’ll continue to hit well enough to start a majority of games or more? No…I don’t. But it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong about a guy either.

        • Scooter

          Or… just throwing this out there… the shoulder injury has had an effect on Melky’s production.

          Same with Cano’s wrist and Swisher’s elbow (that got plunked right before his long slump) earlier in the season.

  • gxpanos

    If Gardner ends the year at 290/360/400 in the AL East (granted, slim chance), he’d be a VERY interesting player to NL teams. Basically, Gritt would look like Victorino or McLouth Lite, especially considering those triple slashes would look better in the NL. I think the Yanks would be dumb not to try their darndest to fleece some poor NL club by trading him after the year. I still think he’s 4th OF if he ends this year at 290/360/400 (he’d be playing over his head, I would bet); but even if he’s truly better than I’m giving him credit for, I dont mind getting value for him and banking on AJax.

    • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

      Damn. If Gardy hits .290/.360/.400 he better be the new lead-off hitter next season, and be playing in the OF most days. Because with those numbers, he’d have 50+ SBs as well every year.

      But I doubt he does that, and so does the vast majority of those involved with MLB. So there’s no way we’re going to get much for him. And I’m sure we’d get more for Melky, simply based on the fact he has more MLB experience than Gardy does.

      So trading Brett at this point would not be smart. We don’t know what we have in this guy quite yet. He could be a 50+ SB guy, or he could be an average 4th OFer. Until we have a better idea, don’t trade him away…ESPECIALLY FOR A RELIEVER (they are way too volatile to give up much of anything for).

      • gxpanos

        So. Many. Strawmen.

        You cant argue against a hypothetical by denying its parameters. The entire crux of my comment is that IF Gardy hits those (admittedly very optimistic) triple slashes, then the Yanks should look to trade him. The second and third of your paragraphs are totally inapplicable. Also, I said they should trade him AFTER the year, IF he hits 290/360/400, not “at this point.”

        We can argue about your first paragraph, which is the only part of your reply applicable to my original comment. You say keep him and lead him off in 2010; I say trade him at what I think would be his peak value and bank on AJax. I dont think Gritt would keep up the 290/360/400 his whole career. And anyway, and more importantly, because of AJax I think Gritt is more valuable to the Yanks as a trade chip if he really is that good.

      • Billy

        i agree 100%, gardner is playing well right now and the bullpen has been solid despite a terrible start. veras is gone and ramirez and alby are in the minors, and the bullpen has pitched alot better. we dont need to be giving prospects away for a reliever.

        • gxpanos

          Behold the power of the strawmen.

          This guy thinks I advocated trading Gardner for a middle reliever right now.

          • Billy

            no, i was agreeing with bryan v that trading gardner right now would be stupid. i didnt even read ur comment and never said anything about it

          • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

            I did not say that. And although you can scroll up and read it again yourself, let me save you the time by copying and pasting what was said…

            “Until we have a better idea, don’t trade him away…ESPECIALLY FOR A RELIEVER (they are way too volatile to give up much of anything for).”

            The ONLY reason I brought up who Gardy would even be traded for, is because bullpen help seems to be the main concern for the team at this time. Not because I thought you meant that. You read too far into it, that’s all.

        • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

          How are the last two paragraphs inapplicable? You say trade Gardy…I say trade Melky. And I gave the reasons why I believe they should keep Gardy, and why they should trade Melky.

          Now, if you meant trade them both…then we’ve got a whole other discussion on our hands. But I didn’t think you were going there.

          And your premise of leading off with AJax instead does not work…because AJax is not a lead-off hitter. Nor is he every projected to be either. So it’s not a case of either AJax or Gardner. It’s AJax AND Gardner, or AJax and Damon, or AJax and Melky. Well, that doesn’t get into the RF situation though.

  • Billy

    they should give jeter one more day off and leave gardner in the leadoff spot tonight. you cant take him out after his game last night, and he’s been red hot

    • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

      I like the OF of Damon, Gardner, Cabrera. They cover a ton of ground, which is very important in the large OF of CitiField.

      Not that Swisher doesn’t deserve playing time, but the defense seems more important. Especially with Burnett on the mound, the Yankees don’t really need the offensive boost you’d get with Swish over Gardy/Melky (barring another game like the one Brett gave us last night).

      • Billy

        definately. burnett is a flyball pitcher, they should score enough against redding, and swish is really a 1B playing right field. citi has one of the toughest right fields in all of baseball, we really need range out there.

  • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

    Sorry. Meant that as a new post, not a reply. I don’t like this comment board.

  • Billy

    before last night’s game, i wasnt a big gardner fan, i thought he best suited the team as a pinchrunner/4th outfielder. now i think that he should get regular playing time and legitimate consideration for AL rookie of the year, as he leads AL rookies in BA, OBP, and steals. even though porcello will likely win the award, gardner is a candidate

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Last night was a great game. I agree. But I think you’re falling victim to the small sample size. A couple of years ago Chris Shelton hit bombs for an entire month for the Tigers. Everybody thought he had this major breakthrough. Now, does anybody know where Chris Shelton is?

      Gardner and Shelton are very different players and very different talents, but Gardner is still likely to be a very good 4th outfielder. He’s been playing great lately. But I want to see him keep this up for more than a few weeks before I decide that he should be the starting CF.

      Girardi playing the hot hand is the way to go for now. Gardner and Melky are both 4th outfield types, and by mixing and matching when they are hot, the Yankees should be able to get decent production out of CF this year.

      • Billy

        i agree that it is a small sample size, all im sayin is that gardner should start somewhere in that outfield until he plays his way out. its not a permanent thing unless gardner plays well. we should ride the hot hand

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          amen

  • Billy

    i wonder what gardner’s stats are compared to ellsbury’s. gardner gets much less hype than ellsbury, who is talked about on espn like he’s the next lou brock

    • thebusiness

      .303 to .304 BA.. Gardner has higher OBP/SLG/OPS and SB %… better UZR/150 and better ARM ratings.

    • AsianShuutoHeat

      you should see all the sux fans that complain about Ellsbury…

  • ChrisS

    With Gardner’s SB% and defense, he only needs a .730-50 OPS to be valuable.

    Of all the players on the Yankees, only Damon scores more runs as a percentage of plate appearances. Gardner scores a run in ~17.1% of his PAs and Damon scores a run in ~17.9%.